Ezra and Nehemiah



  1. Students should be able to identify Ezra as the priest who brought the law back to Jerusalem.
  2. Students should identify Nehemiah as the Jewish governor who rebuilt the city wall.
  3. Students should identify Cyrus and Darius as the kings of Persia who allowed the work.

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 2:1-6, 4:6-23, 8:1-9.


  1. Learning Game: Try 20 Questions: Write the names of Ezra, Nehemiah, Artaxerxes on slips of paper. Let a student choose a name; the others have 20 questions (“yes” or “no” only) to guess the identity of the person. Then move on to the next name.


  1. Discussion: This is a good time to review this very difficult period in Jewish history. Remind the children of the line of kings from Saul to David to Solomon and the glory of the temple in Jerusalem. Review the split of the people into the northern kingdom, Israel, with its capital in Samaria and the southern kingdom, Judah, with its capital in Jerusalem. With older children, you can make comparisons with our own Civil War. God was not happy! He sent prophets to both kingdoms – Elijah and Elisha to Israel and Isaiah, Amos, Micah, and Jeremiah to Judah. Which prophet was sent to the Assyrians? (Jonah) Review the fall of Israel to the Assyrians and of Judah to the Babylonians. Who was the king of Babylon? (Nebuchadnezzar). Who were some of the prisoners taken back to Babylon? (Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Daniel, Ezekiel) Review their stories from captivity. Now Nebuchadnezzar’s heir Belshazzar has fallen to Cyrus of Persia (He sneaked into Babylon in the bed of the river). People began returning to Palestine from Babylon in the days of Cyrus of Persia under the Jewish governor Jerubbabel. But work on the city bogged down due to opposition from their neighbors and did not resume for 15 years during the reign of Darius. Now, with the blessing of Artaxerxes, Ezra is sent to re-institute the law and Nehemiah to rebuild the wall, each with the blessing of Persia. Haggai and Zechariah preached during the early work and Malachi during the time of Nehemiah.


  1. Make “Ezra’s Scroll of the Law”: Take a piece of paper and roll it up like a scroll. Tie with a ribbon or piece of yarn. Review the 10 Commandments to be sure they’re still memorized.


  1. Close with prayer. Pray that we may also keep the law of the Lord close to our hearts.